Ex-Speaker Leaving Congress

Hastert was longest serving Republican speaker
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 15, 2007 12:55 AM CDT
Ex-Speaker Leaving Congress
Rep. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., in his Capitol Hill office, Friday, June 15, 2007. Few politicians fall as far and as fast as Hastert, but the longest-serving Republican House speaker in history landed with his sense of humor intact. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)   (Associated Press)

Congressman J. Dennis Hastert, Republican House Speaker for eight years until he was ousted when Democrats won the majority in November, will not seek re-election in 2008, the New York Times reports. Hastert, who served longer as speaker than any other Republican, says it's too difficult to adjust to a reduced role after being a key political figure.

His Illinois district is a potential Democratic gain at the next election. He may retire before his term is up. “It's time to step away,” said Hastert, 65, a former teacher and wrestling coach who was first elected in 1986. "I never figured out what I wanted to do when I grow up, so we will find out." (Read more J. Dennis Hastert stories.)

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